IN THEIR 10th year of being an eco-school, Lilyfontein is the first school in East London to receive the prestigious Diamond Decade Award from the Wildlife and Environment Society South Africa (Wessa).
Wessa is one of South Africa’s oldest and largest independent non-government environmental organisations (NGO).
The organisation runs various projects and programmes to improve and sustain environmental health around South Africa.
Lilyfontein is one of the 66 schools in the Eastern Cape that is registered with the Eco-Schools Programme.
Eco-Schools is an international programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that was developed to support environmental learning in the classroom.
The programme is active in 64 countries around the world and has been implemented in South Africa since 2003 by Wessa.
The programme is aimed at creating awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools and their surrounding communities, as well as supporting Education for Sustainable Development in the national curriculum.
Through this Eco-Schools Programme alone, Wessa has reached over 400000 pupils and more than 16000 teachers throughout South Africa.
The Diamond Decade Award recognises the achievement of the required international standards of FEE, for 10 consecutive years.
“Lilyfontein can be proud of the love of the environment that they’ve been able to build and share throughout the school,” said Wessa’s Sue Spies while congratulating the school and handing over the award.
“Lilyfontein really does stand head and shoulders above most other schools because of the way environmental ethics are completely within the school’s identity,” said Spies.
All schools are encouraged to participate in the programme and can register any time before March 31 at www.wessa.org.za.
“What makes Eco-Schools stand out is that it is not a competition; schools are not competing with each other. Instead, schools progress at their own pace,” said Spies
Schools are required to set their own goals, providing them with the opportunity to begin implementing manageable steps towards sustainability. Each school’s achievement is measured by the goals they set themselves and then recognised through the Eco-Schools structure.
“When a school does what Lilyfontein does, it influences an entire generation of children to become concerned and environmentally active citizens. Children go home and encourage changes within their own families and then when they grow up, in their places of study and work,” Spies said.
“The Eco-Schools team holds Lilyfontein in very high esteem for setting such a good example of what it means to be an environmentally friendly school, and we look forward to walking this road with the school team for many years to come.”